Posts Tagged ‘love’

basil from the garden for pesto

Yesterday Steve and I were looking down at a single sheet of paper. His last will and testament dated August 2018. In that year during that month just a few days before that will was completed we had sat in a doctor’s office, the top in his field. He stared intently at a scan of Steve’s brain. He eventually nodded and essentially said I see where it is, it is growing fast so how about we do the surgery early next week.

What followed was this blur of activity as Steve kept us focused on the practical like preparing his office to be without their scientist, contacting financial institutions, filling the fridge, making sure I knew passwords, and of course sharing the news with family and friends. We had been in the process of updating his will and doing my first will anyway. But there was no time to complete that process so the lawyer coached him through what to put on that single sheet and to sign with witnesses present.

As I have told Steve over the years he attracts a strong team and the medical team was strong for the surgery. And they were strong for the unexpected second brain surgery that took place the following year and the subsequent intensive physical therapy. In between the two surgeries my youngest brother died in Virginia. Steve couldn’t travel with me. Following the second surgery my second oldest brother died. Steve determinedly made that trek. He could not do so when my eldest brother died only a few months later of cancer during the midst of the pandemic. Nor could I.

And in the midst of all that we closed on a house just as the pandemic struck. It was one of the most onerous processes I’ve ever been through. We moved ourselves in. The backyard was a demolition area but we managed to use every nook and cranny on the side of the house to grow a garden. Steve had his tomatoes and basil. I had my herbs and flowers. I accidentally hoarded eggs instead of toilet tissue and Steve was able to work in the basement and build us a dining room table. We zoomed zoomed zoomed like everyone else for work and to connect with family and friends. We did make excursions around the neighborhood with me constantly snapping at Steve to pull up his mask. We were cautious but not afraid. In a sense we were resolute … you deal with what comes at you because that’s all you can do.

Before August, nearly three years later, we will have our official wills completed. That’s why we were looking at that older document, to remind ourselves, and to reflect, “Wow. Three years? Is that when this whirlwind journey began?”

The yard that was a demolition project is now a full-fledged garden with different raised beds that Steve built. He has retired, more or less, and now enjoys the ability if not the outright necessity of impromptu midday naps. I was able to remain employed and of late have been given leave to do more writing and historical research. I’m committed to resuming photography and more creative writing, with what extra time I don’t know.

Soon Steve and I will go outside to pick some basil. Pesto will be made along with dinner. He moves a little slower in the kitchen in the evening hours so I will be sous chef and perhaps take some photos for instagram. I’ve had more pesto this year than in all the earlier years of my life. I can’t complain. I don’t think I can complain about much of anything.

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That’s not his name but that’s what he represents. This is one of my littlest cousins, Aiden. His favorite color is red … or at least it used to be. He wrote me a letter (with some loving assistance) asking me about my favorite color. I wrote him back and told him orange … or at least it used to be. When I watch, read and listen to the news, because I have to do that, it can be quite dispiriting to think about the future. But then I can think of this little person with his hands clasped, ready to take on the world. With loving assistance …

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Previously in The Story of My Art: “becoming an artist confident”

And now (click on image for larger view) …

The next chapter in this artistic journey is Thursday June 16th. 

Meanwhile, view Mr. Langosy’s art at http://www.donald.langosy.net/ and https://www.facebook.com/The-Art-of-Donald-Langosy-270498092961524/photos/?tab=album&album_id=442071359137529

Interested in his work? Please contact his daughter Zoe at zlangosy@me.com.

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Previously in The Story of My Art: “and then I met Elizabeth”

And now …

The next chapater in this artistic journey is Thursday June 9th.  Meanwhile, learn more about Langosy’s art by contacting Zoe at zlangosy@me.com.

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Sometimes when I am in a room with a group of people, someone will say, “Be careful what you say. We have a writer in our midst and she always sees a story.” I don’t know that I always see a story, but in this case I do.  It is the story of a man and a woman, two artists in their own right, who formed a union. A painter-poet and his writer muse.  Donald and Elizabeth Langosy.

I have permission to call him Donald but, since I am friends with his daughter Zoe, my southern upbringing drives me to refer to him as Mr. Langosy . Now, Elizabeth has made clear, that since we are writing colleagues, I am to call her Elizabeth.  And when she tells you to do something, what else is there to do but what she said in that gentle but oh so firm way of hers. She has that way about her, like a force of nature. Perhaps that is what drew Donald to her. That is his story to tell and, in part, that is what he has begun to do in the pages that his daughter helped him put together, The Story of My Art by Donald Langosy.

In these 14-pages a veil is pulled aside and we the viewer become privy to the bright life of a talented man and his love for a talented woman. We see how that love has enabled and empowered him to produce a body of work that is dynamic, vibrant, sometimes humorous, sometimes sad, and always provocative.

Below are two pages from The Story of My Art. Click on each image for a larger view. Over the course of the next six Thursdays the rest of the story will be shared. Join me on a journey …

For more information about Langosy’s art, contact Zoe at zlangosy@me.com.

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Visit the website of artist Cedric Harper. Scroll through the sculpture page. Be patient. There you will find The Book of Truth.

As described on the site, it is a ceramic sculpture with a tile base. Inside a large black box is a small black box with a white book. Next to the book is a line of small white trees glistening against a dark red sky. Stark. Beautiful. Visually compelling. Mysterious. What truths reside in that book? During a recent conversation, Cedric would not only tell me about the book but how life, especially its challenges, had shaped his unique artistic expression that combines, as he describes, language, symbols and dreams.

photo courtesy of the artist

I first met Cedric at the Riverside Gallery at the Cambridge Community Center.  We were exhibiting in the same show.  I would later tell him that he reminded me of my brothers.  He is a tall, slim, African American man. Very humble.  And like them someone too easy to underestimate, a sentiment I was reminded of when he described how surprised people can be to discover that he, this quiet gentleman, has created such bold work.

photo courtesy of artist

photo courtesy of artist

Having seen his work in person and online, I was drawn to his use of color and texture and his unique juxtaposition of words and images. Why particular words, images, even the use of such colors?  “They come to me in a dream.  I pick up the broken pieces that others throw away as trash.  In my dreams I see the completed piece.  And then all I have to do is make that image real.”

photo courtesy of artist

photo courtesy of artist

Born in 1957, raised in Kansas City, Kansas, member of a large family, he remembers how his parents stressed working hard. “You had to believe in yourself to achieve success. There were always stories about that.” After college at the University of Kansas-Lawrence, he met a nice fellow, and moved to France for a year.  In 1982 he returned to Kansas where “I met the love of my life.” Eventually they moved to Massachusetts where Cedric would work in healthcare as an advocate for individuals with disabilities.  He would do so for thirty years before becoming a full-time artist. “But when did you actually start producing art?” I asked, and he said quietly, “When my lover was dying.”

photo courtesy of artist

photo courtesy of artist

Cedric’s lover had contracted HIV. As they tried to figure out next steps, they set him up in a home on Cape Cod. Cedric commuted but eventually his lover’s condition worsened and Cedric took leave to take care of him.  “When I moved to the Cape, that’s when I began making art. You know how in Provincetown there are so many shops and they sell box kits for people to put their shells in and other trinkets. To keep my sanity, I started buying the boxes and putting them together and painting them. The paintings became more elaborate. People started paying attention.  They encouraged me.”

photo courtesy of artist

photo courtesy of artist

The pieces evolved.  “Provincetown is a mecca for people throwing out great trash. Beautiful pieces of wood and other materials. If some object called to me, I would bring it home, break it down. Later I’d have vivid dreams about the finished piece specific to the object I had picked up.  That was the hard part. Figuring out how to make that concept real.”

Cedric’s lover died April 7, 1994. “There were a lot of dishes broken that day,” he said with a gentle laugh.  Later he would add, “Art brought me back. Gave me perspective. Something to hold onto and communicate with.”

photo courtesy of the artist

Since then, his art has continued to evolve.  “I began reading books on ancient languages, studying heiroglyphs, and exploring how one translates pictures into language and vice versa.”

photo courtesy of the artist

“Exploring these ideas of language and symbols is what I want to do especially with something that already exists, that people have tossed away.  I can take it and make it my own. My inspiration comes from my imagination. There are no boundaries.”

See Cedric Harper’s artwork firsthand. His work will be on display this weekend, along with eight other fine artists, at the Riverside Gallery Exhibit, Words in our Work.  Opening reception is Sunday, February 28, 3:00-5:00 pm. The exhibit runs through March 2016.

As for what’s in The Book of Truth? The answers will be shared in a follow-up post. Take care.

Cedric Harper by Carol Moses

Artist Cedric Harper, Photo by Carol Moses


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I wish I had the money to wipe away all of the debts of my family and friends.  Because if their debts were gone, would that make them happy?  Would financial freedom allow them to treat themselves better, as well as improve their treatment of the people in their lives?  No fancy behavior required, just respect, if not outright love and compassion.

Would it enable them to give the people in their lives a hug, on occasion, or at least a pat on the hand, and even sometimes to perform such actions without even being asked? Would it enable them to talk to each other and communicate in ways that work for all involved and not just one side? Perhaps conversations could take place without someone always having to be wrong so that someone can be right.

window8But I don’t have such funds to give and even if I did, I’m not sure that it would make a difference because in the end, I can control no one’s behavior except my own.  Maybe I should wish for the money so that I can travel around the world, to where all these friends and family members live, those that are suffering and in some form of pain. Perhaps I could pass out those hugs or those pats on the hand, so that certain people know that they are loved and that their presence does make a difference to the people around them and always has, even if words of gratitude are not often shared.

Of late I have received so many calls and notes from friends and family, all suffering in some way, but mostly feeling alone though they are surrounded by others.  I hear only their words, and know that there is always more than one side to any story.  I can make no judgements about those others in their lives.  I just wish that all were happy and each knew how precious each day was to have such people in their lives.  I can listen to the words and I can read the notes but I cannot change behavior.  But there is something I can do.
Each spring into summer, I buy seeds of all kinds, in packages large and small.  I send them out into the world to family and friends, of all ages, to help people pause and maybe even share a precious moment with others as they plant the seeds in the soil.  I send them to the closest of friends and family, and I send them to family and friends I know not very well at all.  I send them to the people who cannot speak to each other in hopes they can plant a seed together even if they do so in silence.  It is a selfish act — to know that I did something, gave something, to another.  I do not know what the seeds do for the recipients or even if the seeds are planted.  I simply hope they are.  I hope they are.

*the photographs are the latest series of photographs taken through the rippled glass, of life blurried but still beautiful

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Of late, I’ve met a man from a war-torn country who now lives and works in the U.S.  He has described to me scenes of great brutality inflicted by man upon man for reasons like this person looked like someone from that country versus this country.  He often has a smile on his face.

I am noted for seeing even an empty glass as half-full, but this man’s ability to find the positive puts me to shame.  Why is he so happy?  Not because he has a job that pays exceptionally well. He doesn’t.  Not because he’s made many new friends in this country.  He hasn’t.  I think it is because, even as the soil ran red with blood around him, he remained open to the possibilities.  He saw the beauty amidst the horror, like the flowers blossoming near that same bloody field.

He remained hopeful.  Or, as he once told me, he has love in his heart and so long as you have love, what else do you need? Hmmm.

One day I did chance upon him not smiling. I asked the first question that came to mind. “Do you still have love in your heart?”  He did not react with surprise to my words.  His brow furrowed in deep thought.  After a moment, he nodded, and then he smiled broadly.  “Yes, Cynthia.  Yes I do!”

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Today I made my annual donation to one of the nonprofits I support, WalkBoston.  As a card carrying pedestrian (and dreamer), believe me, I need help crossing the road.  I made the donation in memory of my Aunt Thelma who used to describe her walks to me.  Following is a blog post I wrote about her two years ago, about how she influenced who I am today, including how I can choose to give myself to others.  This bright, beautiful day is her birthday so it seems like a good time to give back, and give thanks for her having been in the world.  At the end of the post is a youtube video of Dives and Lazarus by composer Ralph Vaughn Williams.  It was music Steve had shared with me, and music I remember replaying until I could collect the words to write about a lovely woman who in her own unique way helped me learn to walk in this world.  Please enjoy the words and the music, and have a good day.



My mother taught me to cook, to plant flowers, and to tell stories.  From her I learned to love books and to love writing.  She passed away before I ever wrote and had published my first story.  During her life, I never traveled abroad.  She never knew me with a camera in my hand.  She never met Steve or any other fellow in my life.  But her sister, my Aunt Thelma did.

In Aunt Thelma’s bedroom dresser are the postcards I sent to her from my travels all over the world.  On her bookshelves are the magazines and other clippings of my work.  And, last year, after I returned from my travels with Steve in Japan, she made me create a photo book for her.  “I need tangibles I can hold in my hand,” she said when I pointed out the pictures were viewable online.  “And include a picture of that fellow you’re seeing.  I don’t know if I’ll ever see him any other way.”  They never did meet, but she read about him, and they spoke on the phone once.  I sat next to her on her couch as she laughed with him on my cell phone.  I remember him asking her what he should call her.  She laughed and said, “Well, why you don’t call me what everyone calls me.  Aunt Thelma.”  After she hung up, she asked me if he was a good man.  I said yes.  And then we went on to talk about my brothers and their families.

Growing up in Virginia, my mother made it clear early in my life if I was ever in trouble I could call my Aunt Thelma who was living in New York.  When my mother died, Aunt Thelma traveled to Virginia and was there with me and my brothers, along with the rest of the family.  When my father died unexpectedly a year and half later, she couldn’t make it, but I will always remember standing in a hospital waiting room on the phone with her crying and her saying over and over, “You go ahead and cry.  It’s alright to cry.”

In bad times but mostly good, I called her, especially after I got a cell phone.  I could call her randomly as I returned home from work.  She’d laugh at my stories and in the end, wind up telling me to be careful as I crossed the street.  She always ended her calls with, “I love you, Cynthia.”

My Aunt Thelma passed away this weekend.  I will miss her.  I am thankful that she was in my life.  I learned a lot.  In NY this weekend, as the family gathered, I held one of my young cousins in my arms.  She was crying.  “I’m sorry,” she said as she tried to wipe her face.  I said, “Why are you apologizing? For crying? Don’t ever apologize for crying.  It’s alright to cry.  Do you know who taught me that?” When she shook her head, I said, “Aunt Thelma.”

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As soon as my brother uttered the words, I smiled and shook my head.  Once again I was proven right.  I may feel compelled to put my words out into the world, but it is my brothers who are the poets in my family.  In this case, my youngest brother was simply sharing his growing understanding of what it means to be a father — the ups and downs and everything in between.  And with this understanding he was able to look into the past from a different perspective.  “I remember,” he said, “walking towards Pop.  He was sitting in that chair, lost in thought, tilted over, looking like a dandelion without light.  I don’t know which of us he was worried about that day or if he was sitting there wishing he’d done some things differently in life or maybe he was just missing Ma.  But then he saw me and he straightened up and he smiled.  It was like the sun had come out.  I was his light.  That is what my son is like for me.”

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